How Free Men Work Together


President of the Santa Fe Railroad

The historic relations between the Santa Fe and the oil industry date hack to 1894. In that year, a California oil company and the Santa Fe worked together in our shop at San Bernardino, Calif., to develop the first oil burner which could burn oil successfully in the firebox of a steam locomotive.

By 1896, more than half of the locomotives we had in service in Southern California had been converted into oil burners. That same year we developed other interests in oil because the Santa Fe secured leases covering some 300 acres of prospective oil land in the Olinda district of California and our first well was drilled in 1897.

So, for almost 60 years the Santa Fe, now America’s largest completely Dieselized railroad, has not only been burning oil in its locomotives, but also has been engaged in producing oil. As a result, there has been an understanding of some of the problems in the oil industry and a sympathy for their difficulties, as well as a sincere admiration for the great accomplishments of the petroleum industry.

One of the finest examples of two American industries working toward a common goal was the highly successful teamwork between the oil industry and the railroads in winning the ‘’Battle of Transportation” during World War II.

During those war years the railroad industry carried over 97% of all organized military traffic and more than 90% of the war freight. To accomplish this record-breaking transport job, tremendous supplies of fuels and lubricants were required by the railroads and were produced and delivered by our oil industry.

The spirit of teamwork which paid off for us then remains alive today. Research scientists of the railroads and the oil industry are continually experimenting on improved fuels and lubricants and new uses for petroleum products toward transportation progress.

We refer to our modern method of railroading as “Progress That Pays Its Own Way.” The same can be said of the oil industry. But this will continue only as long as we maintain our American system of private free enterprise — the greatest force for scientific and industrial development the world has ever known.

This is one of a series of reports by outstanding Americans who were invited to examine the job being done by the U. S. oil industry This page is presented for your information by the American Petroleum Institute, 50 West 50th Street, New York 20, N. Y.